Community-First Products 📣

Welcome! I’m Ivan Landabaso, VC at Join 1400+ Startup Riders discovering new startup trends and leverage every 2 weeks (+ a little surfing 🤙)


  • 🌊 Startup Wave: Community-First Products.

  • 🏄🏻‍♂️ Lever: Tiny gains.

  • 💵 Recent Deals in Spain: Flywire IPO.

📣 Community-First Products

😧 Problem

Building a product is not enough, you have to reach your customers - affordably.

🤩 Solution

Identify your customers, market and pain ahead of launching an actual product.

Make your target community trust you before you invest in building a product.

I’ve always found the most success when I go to my audience, my email list, my 1,000 true fans and first ask THEM what they desire. - Chris Orzechowski

⏳ How we got here

Sharing ideas attracts like-minded people who double as a feedback loop to make you smarter and more interesting. Through direct feedback, having an audience will give you a unique perspective on the world. You’ll receive instant, high-quality feedback on the ideas you share. 

- David Perell

A few years ago at Facebook we built Spark AR (like an Adobe Photoshop for augmented reality). This wasn’t an “audience-first” product, but we did intentionally build out a community in tandem.

The Spark AR Creator Community ended up being awesome both for helping inform product decisions (user-feedback) and distribution (highly motivated early-adopters).

Today, some masters of the internet are able to attract people, ideas and capital before launching a product by pulling on the right media levers.


  • Platform adoption and variety: it is easier than ever to build an online audience leveraging the type of media that suits you best (by format)

  • Time-spent growth: entire communities spending more time online, with a world-wide average of 2:24h spent on the social media apps (users aged 16-64).

  • Tools and lower barriers to entry: there’s an enormous (and growing) amount of low-code / plug-and-play software solutions available to help you scale - free, or at a very reasonable price.

  • Role Models: There’s a number of startups and individual contributors that have already paved the way for you, here’s a few I follow:

🚀 My favorites

  • Joe Rogan - runs the Joe Rogan Experience since 2009. He now brings on elite MMA fighters as guests (among many others). He identified the need for high-quality supplements - and launched Onnit (and a lot of other stuff related to other core parts of his audience) as a result

  • Tim Ferris - runs the Tim Ferris Show podcast since 2014. He has written a number of books, some of them dramatically increasing the size of his audience, that tie directly into his audience’s needs.

🤠 How To Ride It

  1. Identify your T-Shaped niche + Build an audience: identify the intersection between your interests, skills and market. Find out where those people live on the internet - then write / share / add to the conversation - add value and/or perspective. Being T-Shaped helps👇

    💡 Example: I love startups, investing, economics, philosophy, surfing, combat sports etc - I’m building vertical knowledge in investing.

  2. Identify a problem + build a product: train yourself to listen and spot challenges being shared by your community. Ask yourself: “What product can I build to make their/our life easier?”

    💡 Example: When I opened a twitter account last summer, I followed my target audience and wrote down problems I saw they were talking about. One of them was confusion around access to finance in Spain, so I put together a super basic and easy to use database, where people could filter by investment stage (for funding) and location (for incubators / accelerators) - and it got picked up on Techcrunch

  1. Scale the solution: outsource repeatable processes to software and contractors.

    💡 Example: This newsletter! Tools I leverage for repeatable processes and distribution: Twitter, Substack, Zapier, Airtable, Pocket.

👌 Hacks

  • Focus on helping others first.

  • Pre-validate - figure out where your target audience lives, study what they are missing there - and launch your product.

  • Leverage underrated cheap organic channels LinkedIn Tiktok (Garry V), while you can / they don’t bump prices

  • Learn to speak internet (gif, meme)

  • Focus on relationship depth (with your audience) rather than scale.

  • Don’t take yourself too seriously.

  • Leverage low-code tools.

  • If you are lost, start by taking something good and improving on it.

🐇  Follow The White Rabbit 🕳️

If you are launching a project in this space, please reach out through comments or DM as I’d love to get in touch 🙌🙏


🏄 Leverage: Tiny Gains

Every morning, before I become fully awake - I flop to the ground and force myself to:

  1. Lift some heavy stuff, mostly kettlebells (10 minutes)

  2. Stretch / mobility routine (10 minutes)

  3. Breathe / meditate / call it whatever, just observe your thoughts. (10 mins)

Here’s the key - if for whatever reason I’m finding excuses not to do it, I do at least a tiny little bit (i.e. 1 stretch, or do some pushups, or whatever).

When it comes to skill acquisition, if you are not moving forwards - you are going backwards. I find doing even a tiny bit every day sets the day for a win. Try it.

💵 Recent Deals in Spain

Firstly, congratulations to the Flywire team for becoming the first company originated in Spain to IPO on the NASDAQ.

Spain needs more role models like Iker Marcaide, and the list is growing!

This is huge for Spanish entrepreneurs 👏.

You love startups and want to enjoy a Spanish lifestyle? Come join the Spanish startup ecosystem. Here’s a list of recently funded startups:

If you find this interesting, please consider sharing with your friends. I’d also love to get your thoughts and feedback on Twitter. Until the next one! 😃